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Etisalat and France Telecom to develop digital services and content

MOU includes co-operation on network capacity, digital content delivery and film production

Etisalat and France Telecom have signed a wide ranging MOU to collaborate in a number of areas, most notably for the development of multimedia services for the home.

The agreement, which was signed yesterday in France by Etisalat chairman Mohammad Omran and Didier Lombard, Chairman and CEO of France Telecom, includes co-operation on international networks and creation and delivery of content to homes, even including movie development.

The two companies will co-operate on international roaming on each others networks, and will also collaborate on building new network capacity in territories where both operate, such as Western Africa and improving Mediterranean links between Europe and the Middle East.

For home services, Etisalat is looking to use France Telecom's home gateway and IPTV technology developed under its Orange brand. Etisalat also aims to take a stake in Soft At Home, a joint venture between France Telecom, Sagem and Thomson, which is developing a software platform to deliver digital services to the home services.

The agreement also includes content sourcing and generation, with France Telecom helping Etisalat to deliver the Warhammer Online MMORPG in the UAE, and also looking at joint investment in film production and audio visual programs through France Telecom's Studio 37 subsidiary.

Hassan Omran commented: "We are very pleased at signing this partnership with France Telecom. Both Europe and the Middle East are a nerve centre for technology innovation in the telecom space and characterised by a very demanding customer base. This agreement with France Telecom will leverage the technological expertise and deep customer insight of both companies to offer the latest services to customers in a converged IP environment across the markets we operate in."

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